What to pack for your Canadian Working Holiday

If you’re reading this, you’re probably in one of these situations: you either got your work permit and are ready to come to work and travel in Canada, you’re still in your country’s working holiday pool for International Experience Canada, OR you’re simply considering a working holiday.

No matter who you are, we did some research and also looked at our own program participants’ experiences. From that, we compiled a working holiday packing list of what to pack in your suitcase before you embark on your working holiday in Canada.

Remember: the key is to try to pack only what you really need because anything else can usually be found and bought once you are in Canada. Print off this page and cross things off as you get ready for your Working Holiday in Canada!

The Essentials

  • Some cash converted to Canadian currency (around $200 CAD). You may also bring currency from your home country and convert it in Canada as the rates are generally better. For those on a Working Holiday in the Vancouver area, you may use services such as VBCE.
  • Debit/Credit cards from your home country in case of emergency (check with your bank to see if you are able to use your cards overseas, and how much the service will be as well)
  • Medication that you are currently taking, and a copy of your prescription or a doctor’s note
  • Plane ticket/hotel or hostel booking information, printed in case you run out battery.

Identification & Important Documents

The following items you will need to show to the Boarder Services Officer upon arrival to Canada in order to collect your Canadian work permit, CBSA Officers:

  • Passport
  • Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction or Working Holiday Approval Letter
  • Proof of funds (at least $2500 CAD)
  • Proof of health insurance for your complete stay in Canada, we recommend you this one.
  • A ticket for your departure from Canada or proof showing sufficient funds to purchase one.
  • Job offer – Only for International Co-op or Young Professional.
  • Hotel’s contact info, and directions from the airport to your accommodation

Clothing

Canada has very distinct and different seasons (summers are warm, and winters quite cold):

  • Interview/fancier clothes (business casual items in various solid, neutral shades), as well as everyday, casual clothes
  • Summer time: Lighter clothing such as t-shirts, button downs, polos, board shorts, light jeans or shorts.
  • Winter time: Heavier clothing such as wool based sweaters, cardigans, coats, heavy jeans, hats, scarves, gloves, etc
  • A few pairs of shoes: a pair of formal shoes, and 2 pairs of casual shoes
  • Pyjamas for sleeping in
  • Undergarments, socks
  • Raincoat

Toiletries

  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash
  • Bar of soap/facial cleanser
  • Body lotion/facial moisturizer, lip balm
  • Makeup/makeup remover
  • Contact lens solution/kit, if you wear contacts
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen, even in the wintertime.
  • Razors, nail clippers, tweezers, hairbrush, etc and any other daily care tools you use
  • Small first aid kit including band aids, polysporin, and common medication for pain, cold & flu, upset stomach, and whatever else you think you may need

Electronics & Other Small Things

  • Smartphone or Laptop (to check emails, manage banking, check for updates from your job, staying connected with friends and family, etc.)
  • Travel plug adapter! (Very important, please note that Canadian voltage is 120v and the outlets support “Type B” North American NEMA 5-15 standard)
  • Compact/micro-umbrella
  • Pens and notebook
  • Backpack or carryon bag, in addition to luggage
  • Pictures of family and friends, because we know that you will be missing them dearly!

Items Applicable To Working Holiday Ski Resort

The list up until here is a general list more suited for those participating in our Working Holiday Vancouver program. If you are planning on coming to Canada via a Working Holiday Ski Resort, then there are other things to take into consideration when packing (especially for the cold weather, assuming you are coming during the winter, and of course any ski or snowboard related gear that you might want to bring)

You will want to also bring (in addition to what was already mentioned above):

Reminder: When on the mountains, make sure to wear 3 layers on top and 2 layers on the bottom!

  • Heavy sweaters (wool based)
  • Hoodies/Long sleeve shirts
  • Ski goggles
  • Ski/snow boots
  • Snow hat & ski helmet
  • Thermal underwear
  • Waterproof ski pants & ski jacket
  • Waterproof ski gloves/mittens
  • High SPF sunscreen
  • Ski Equipment (bring or buy in Canada, we suggest buying or renting in Canada)

Want to start planning your Working Holiday in Canada?

Book a free consultation with our team. Learn how we can help you make the most of your working holiday in Canada.

Photo Credits Janelle Timms